3 out of 4 stars
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Dynomike: Pay it forward by Frankie B. Rabbit is a delightful children’s book, filled with radiant images created by Don Suratos. It teaches kids that helping others without expecting something in return is what matters. That’s a hard lesson for adults, who always expect to get something, so learning the concept of ‘paying it forward’ as a child could impact one later in life. Although he’s having a bad day, our main character, Dynomike, decides to help his friend, Spunky, with his banana cart, which triggers a chain of events.
Dynomike: Pay it forward is the tenth installment in the Dynomike Teaches series. All the books in this series are trying to imprint valuable lessons on children, especially related to their emotions, self-esteem, and friendship. They are perfect bedtime stories for children of kindergarten age.
The characters are different types of animals. I assume that kids will love Dynomike at first sight because they tend to love dinosaurs. In an interview, the author said that Dynomike was the name he gave to his stuffed animal from childhood. The other characters are also fun to analyze. Because of the book’s shortness, the characters don’t get much exposure, but I appreciate their facial expressions, that match the situation. It could also be a fun activity to ask children about what facial expressions mean.
Since it has a small number of pages with very little text, the book seems better suited for small children. It’s organized in rhyme, with a catchphrase that makes the lesson fun to remember, and causes the characters to do good in return: “You’re welcome. No need to repay. Just pay it forward. Help someone today.” I like that the book also teaches good manners, like saying “Sorry” and “Thank you”.
I don’t tend to read children’s books, but basing a book on such a marvelous idea makes it impossible to refuse. I have to say that I was reluctant when I first saw the characters on the cover because I kept thinking that a child would be confused by the ambiguous creatures. However, after I put some thought into it, I realized that children have a wild imagination, and they often come up with strange shapes for animals. What lured me to this book was the quality of the illustrations. The bright colors reminded me of old cartoons, making this book visually pleasant for kids and adults.
What seems contradictory to me is the fact that the cat, which unfortunately doesn’t get a name, made a mess, thus causing Chef Wiggles to have to clean. Because the cat made the mess, I wouldn’t count her sweeping as a good deed, but better as a civic responsibility. I want a child to see the difference between a good deed and an obligation, which this particular part of the book didn’t accomplish. For this reason, and the fact that the cat is the only character without a name, I’m going to take a star away from the rating.
I’m pleased to say that the book is professionally edited, so my rating is going to be 3 out of 4 stars. Dynomike: Pay it forward presents a great opportunity for parents and educators to teach children about the importance of helping others. With one exception, the book fairly accomplishes that purpose. I was able to enjoy it and get a positive vibe that made me want to help someone today. I hope it manages to do that to all its readers.
Dynomike: Pay It Forward
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